Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Hazel picking

Some of you may be aware that I am a local councillor, a role I carry out in addition to my horticultural activities. This afternoon I had a tour of my ward with the leader of Gateshead Council and various officers, as well as my two ward colleagues John and Marilynn. We met them in the car park of the Rose pub, in Streetgate, the next village along from where I live in Sunniside. We were there early and I discovered a hazel tree overhanging the car park. This was too good to miss so John found a carrier bag in his car and whilst he shook the tree, Marilynn and I scurried around like a couple of squirrels collecting the hazel nuts from the ground. We got a good quantity.

After the tour was over, I got out of my suit and into my gardening clothes and headed down the road to Watergate Park where a large number of hazel trees were planted some years ago. A very productive exercise - I gathered a large quantity of hazel. And for good measure, I picked a sack of crab apples in the old Fugar Bar orchard.

If you are into wild food foraging or self-sufficiency, don't leave it any longer to collect the hazel. They are a staple crop for us - high in protein and essential oils. A bit of a super food.

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